Mission to Cambodia: successful?

View our location map in Surin

Our original plan to travel south down Laos and finally see southern Laos didn’t quite work out when we didn’t manage to leave northern Laos before our visa ran out.  So we had to exit via Thailand, and make our way down to Cambodia from there.  At first we were really torn, because we wanted to see the south of Lao so much, and also wanted to see Cambodia, and didn’t really have time to see both before we meet up with Ben and Christerine again in Singapore.  So we decided that since the number one thing we want to see in Cambodia is Prasat Prear Vihear temple, we would travel down Thailand and enter Cambodia at the border just beside the temple.

So this was all well and good, once we left Laos we spent a day motorbiking around Chiang Rai again, and then made our way south.  24 hours on the bus later, we got off near the Thai-Cambodian border only to be told that war has broken out at the Choam border crossing and Thailand was bombing Cambodia.  Oh dear.  So the friendly Thai policeman advised us to get back on a bus, and travel 2 hours back in the direction we had just come from, to access the other border Chong Jom.  We were both actually feeling really good because we’d come on the luxury bus – it was like business class on a plane so we decided to do it straight away.  Upon arrival at Surin, the Thai town that you catch the bus to the Chong Jom border, we were told that as of this morning this border is closed now too, because fighting has increased and Thailand has just bombed the temple, Prasat Prear Vihear!!!  This is the temple that we specifically wanted to see and apparently an entire wing of the temple has collapsed last night.  :-(  This is a world heritage site and it has made us very sad to hear.

So what to do next?  We could travel further in Thailand and go to yet another Cambodian border that is far from the conflict, we could go in the other direction and go to southern Laos.  Both options are enticing.  Then we came to a cafe, where we are right now, and met 2 English guys who live here in Surin.  They advised us that the border IS open, and one of the guys phoned his Cambodian friend who works as a border guard and asked him about the current situation.  Apparently this guy reckons the Chong Jom border is open now and the only conflict is at the other border (Choam).  He says if we call him in the morning he will let us know if the border is open and will arrange a taxi for us to Siem Reap if we want to go.  So the question remains:  will we be successful in getting to Cambodia?  Or is it back to Laos we go?  Or should we just stay in Thailand and go to the beach?  The answer will hopefully become clear in the morning!  We are not about to put ourselves in any danger whatsoever so we will just do whatever will be best for us.  Stay tuned….

A few random pics of our travels: